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104A.1 Enforcement agency. The Department of Building Inspection shall be the administering and enforcing agency under this code.
104A.2 Powers and duties of Building Official.
104A.2.1 General. The Building Official is hereby authorized and directed to enforce all the provisions of this code. For such purposes, the Building Official shall have the powers of a law enforcement officer.
Pursuant to Health and Safety Code Section 13108, upon the written request of the chief fire official of any city, county or fire-protection district, the State Fire Marshal may authorize such chief fire official and his or her authorized representatives, in their geographical area of responsibility, to make fire-prevention inspections of state-owned or state-occupied buildings, other than state institutions, for the purpose of enforcing the regulations relating to fire and panic safety adopted by the State Fire Marshal pursuant to this section and building standards relating to fire and panic safety published in the California Building Standards Code. Authorization from the State Fire Marshal shall be limited to those fire departments or fire districts which maintain a fire-prevention bureau staffed by paid personnel.
Pursuant to Health and Safety Code Section 13108, any requirement or order made by any chief fire official who is authorized by the State Fire Marshal to make fire-prevention inspections of state-owned or state occupied buildings, other than state institutions, may be appealed to the State Fire Marshal. The State Fire Marshal shall, upon receiving an appeal and subject to the provisions of Chapter 5 (commencing with Section 18945) of Part 2, 5 of Division 13 of the Health and Safety Code, determine if the requirement or order made is reasonably consistent with the fire and panic safety regulations adopted by the Office of the State Fire Marshal and building standards relating to fire and panic safety published in the California Building Code.
The Building Official shall have the power to render interpretations of this code and to adopt and enforce rules and supplemental regulations to clarify the application of its provisions. Such interpretations, rules and regulations shall be in conformance with the intent and purpose of this code. Such rules and regulations, commonly referred to as Code Rulings and Administrative Bulletins supplemental to this code shall not take effect until approved by the Building Inspection Commission and signed by the Building Official except in unusual circumstances where the Building Official has determined that there is an immediate need to protect the public health and safety. When the Building Official finds that such circumstances exist, the Building Official may order immediate enforcement of a particular rule or regulation. The Building Official shall arrange for a subscription service to such rules and regulations, the entire cost of which is to be borne by the subscribers.
NOTE: “Code Rulings” and “Administrative Bulletins” may be found in the Department’s Rules and Regulations printed at the back of this code.
104A.2.2 Deputies. In accordance with prescribed procedures and with the approval of the appointing authority, the building official may appoint such number of technical officers and inspectors and other employees as shall be authorized from time to time. The building official may deputize such inspectors or employees as may be necessary to carry out the functions of the code enforcement agency.
104A.2.3 Right of entry. When it is necessary to make an inspection to enforce the provisions of this code or other codes or ordinances, or when the Building Official has reasonable cause to believe that there exists in a building or upon a premises a condition that is contrary to or in violation of this code or other codes or ordinances that makes the building or premises unsafe, dangerous or hazardous, the Building Official may enter the building or premises at reasonable times to inspect or to perform the duties imposed by this code or other codes or ordinances, provided that if such building or premises be occupied that credentials be presented to the occupant and entry requested. If such building or premises be unoccupied, the Building Official shall first make a reasonable effort to locate the owner or other person having charge or control of the building or premises and request entry. If entry is refused, the Building Official shall have recourse to the remedies provided by law to secure entry.
104A.2.4 Stop orders.
(a) Whenever any work is being done contrary to the provisions of this code, or other pertinent laws or ordinances implemented through the enforcement of this code, the building official may order the work stopped by notice in writing served on any persons engaged in the doing or causing such work to be done, and any such persons shall forthwith stop such work until authorized by the building official to proceed with the work.
(b) If the building official determines that a project has a history of repeated violations of this code or other pertinent laws or ordinances implemented through the enforcement of this code, the building official may stop all work on the project until all the code violations have been fully investigated and resolved. The director of any department with permitting authority for the project, including but not limited to the Director of Public Works and the Director of Planning, may request the building official to stop all work on the project pending an investigation and resolution of the code violations at issue.
104A.2.5 Occupancy violations. Whenever any building, structure, property or portion thereof regulated by this code is being used contrary to the provisions of this code or the code in effect at the time the use was commenced, the Building Official may order such use discontinued and the building, structure, property or portion thereof, vacated by notice served on any person involved in said use or causing such use to be continued. Such person shall discontinue the use within the time prescribed by the Building Official after receipt of such notice to make the building, structure, property or portion thereof, comply with the requirements of this code; provided, however, that in the event of an unsafe building, structure or property the provisions of Section 102A shall apply.
104A.2.6 Liability. The Building Official charged with the enforcement of this code, acting in good faith and without malice in the discharge of the duties required by this code or other pertinent law or ordinance shall not thereby be rendered personally liable for damages that may accrue to persons or property as a result of an act or by reason of an act or omission in the discharge of such duties. A suit brought against the building official or employee because of such act or omission performed by the building official or employee in the enforcement of any provision of such codes or other pertinent laws or ordinances implemented through the enforcement of this code or enforced by the code enforcement agency shall be defended by this jurisdiction until final termination of such proceedings, and any judgment resulting therefrom shall be assumed by this jurisdiction.
This code shall not be construed to relieve from or lessen the responsibility of any person owning, operating or controlling any building or structure for any damages to persons or property caused by defects, nor shall the code enforcement agency or its parent jurisdiction be held as assuming any such liability by reason of the inspections authorized by this code or any permits or certificates issued under this code.
104A.2.7 Modifications. When there are practical difficulties involved in carrying out the provisions of this code, the building official may grant modifications for individual cases. The building official shall first find that a special individual reason makes the strict letter of this code impractical and that the modifications are in conformance with the intent and purpose of this code and that such modifications does not lessen any fire-protection requirements or any degree of structural integrity. The details of any action granting modifications shall be recorded and entered in the files of the code enforcement agency.
104A.2.7.1 Local equivalencies. Due to unique topographical conditions in the City and County of San Francisco, including but not limited to the City’s built environment and historic pattern of development, equivalencies to certain code requirements have been developed by the Department and are approved on an individual basis if specific conditions are met. Wherever in this code a reference to Local Equivalency is made, details of the equivalency to the specific code requirement may be found in the Department’s Rules and Regulations printed at the back of this code.
104A.2.8 Alternate materials, design, and methods of construction. The provisions of this code are not intended to prevent the use of any material, alternate design or method of construction not specifically prescribed by this code, provided any alternate has been approved and its use authorized by the building official.
The building official may approve any such alternate, provided the building official finds that the proposed design is satisfactory and complies with the provisions of this code and that the material, method or work offered is, for the purpose intended, at least the equivalent of that prescribed in this code in suitability, strength, effectiveness, fire resistance, durability, safety and sanitation.
The building official shall require that sufficient evidence or proof be submitted to substantiate any claims that may be made regarding its use. The details of any action granting approval of an alternate shall be recorded and entered in the files of the code enforcement agency.
104A.2.8.1 Alternate for materials, design, tests and methods of construction. Subject to other provisions of law, alterations, repairs, replacements, occupancy, use and maintenance provisions, and moved buildings are referenced in the State Housing Law, Health and Safety Code, Sections 17912, 17920.3, 17922(c), 17922.3, 17958.8 and 17958.9 and California Code of Regulations, Title 25, Chapter 1 commencing with Section 1. Health and Safety Code Sections 17958.8 and 17958.9 are repeated here to provide clarity and read as follows:
Section 17958.8. Local ordinances or regulations governing alterations and repair of existing buildings shall permit the replacement, retention, and extension of original materials and the use of original methods of construction for any building or accessory structure subject to this part, including a hotel, lodging house, motel, apartment house, or dwelling, or portions thereof, as long as the portion of the building and structure subject to the replacement, retention, or extension of original materials and the use of original methods of construction complies with the building code provisions governing that portion of the building or accessory structure at the time of construction, and the other rules and regulations of the department or alternative local standards governing that portion at the time of its construction and adopted pursuant to Section 13143.2 and the building or accessory structure does not become or continue to be a substandard building.
Section 17958.9. Local ordinances or regulations governing the moving of apartment houses and dwellings shall, after July 1, 1978, permit the retention of existing materials and methods of construction so long as the apartment house or dwelling complies with the building standards for foundation applicable to new construction, and does not become or continue to be a substandard building.
104A.2.8.3 Approval and evaluation of materials or systems, methods and types of construction, fabricators, and testing or plan review agencies. General. This section is applicable to evaluations conducted and to approvals granted by the Department, for use in San Francisco, for alternate materials not covered in this code; for plant fabrications of building components which normally require special inspection; for testing or plan review agencies; for evaluation of materials, product methods and types of construction.
Any approval shall be void if, after approval, the design or nature of the device or material, the method of construction, the quality control program, or the capabilities of the agency, are found to deviate in any way from that represented to the Department or the conditions of approval, without first obtaining written authorization from the Building Official.
Any approval may be suspended or revoked if the Building Official finds the approved device or material, method of construction, or quality control program does not meet the requirements of Sections 104A.2.8 or 1701 to such an extent that the approval should not have been granted. See Section 110A, Table 1A-J – Product Approvals – for applicable fees. The fees specified are application fees and are not refundable regardless of whether the action taken is an approval or a denial or whether a subsequent request for hearing by the Board of Examiners is filed, except for the case where an application was filed at the request or on the advice of the Department for situations which subsequently are determined to not require an approval.
Each approval shall become null and void unless renewed within the specified period.
104A.2.9 Tests. Whenever there is insufficient evidence of compliance with any of the provisions of this code or evidence that any material or construction does not conform to the requirements of this code, the building official may require tests as proof of compliance to be made at no expense to this jurisdiction.
Test methods shall be as specified by this code or by other recognized test standards. If there are no recognized and accepted test methods for the proposed alternate, the building official shall determine test procedures.
All tests shall be made by an approved agency. Reports of such tests shall be retained by the building official for the period required for the retention of public records.
104A.2.10 Cooperation of other officials and officers. The building official may request, and shall receive, the assistance and cooperation of other officials of this jurisdiction so far as is required in the discharge of the duties required by this code or other pertinent law or ordinance.
104A.2.11 Code revision process. An amendment to the text of the Building Code, Electrical Code, Housing Code, Plumbing Code, Mechanical Code, Green Building Code, or other Code enforced by the Department of Building Inspection may be initiated by introduction by a member of the Board of Supervisors of a proposed ordinance approved as to form by the City Attorney, or by a recommendation of the Building Official to the Building Inspection Commission pursuant to Section 104A.2.11.2.
104A.2.11.1. Code revisions initiated by the Board of Supervisors; transmittal to the Building Inspection Commission. Upon introduction of an ordinance amending the Codes cited above in Section 104A.2.11, the Clerk of the Board of Supervisors shall transmit the proposed ordinance to the Building Inspection Commission for a public hearing pursuant to Section D3.750-5 of the San Francisco Charter.
104A.220.127.116.11. Commission hearing and recommendation. The Building Inspection Commission shall hold a hearing on the proposed code amendment or amendments and make a recommendation of approval or disapproval of the proposed amendment(s), in whole or in part, to the Board of Supervisors within 90 days from the date of their referral by the Board to the Commission. Failure of the Commission to act within the prescribed time shall be deemed to constitute disapproval, except that the Board may, by resolution, extend the prescribed time within which the Commission is to render its decision. In the case of Commission’s approval or disapproval, in whole or in part, of the proposed amendment(s), the Board may adopt the ordinance by majority vote.
104A.18.104.22.168. Referral back to the Building Inspection Commission. In acting upon any proposed amendment to the text of the Codes cited in Section 104A.2.11 above, the Board of Supervisors may modify said amendment but shall not take final action upon any material modification that has not been approved or disapproved by the Building Inspection Commission. If the Board of Supervisors makes such a material modification, the amended ordinance approved as to form by the City Attorney shall be referred back to the Commission. In all such cases of referral back, the amendment with the proposed modification shall be heard by the Building Inspection Commission according to the requirements for a new proposal set forth in Section 104A.22.214.171.124.
104A.2.11.2. Code Revisions recommended by the Building Official. The Building Official shall transmit to the Building Inspection Commission, at intervals not exceeding three years, recommendations for changes to this code, based on studies of the following:
1. Requests of the Board of Examiners for modifications from the code, and for approvals of alternate materials, alternate designs and methods of construction.
2. Code changes recommended by the Board of Examiners.
3. Code changes recommended by the Code Advisory Committee or other bodies subordinate to the Building Inspection Commission.
4. Results obtained and problems encountered in legal actions taken to correct code violations.
5. Changes or improvements in materials, methods of construction or design, and changes proposed by interested persons.
6. Investigations of fire and structural damage to buildings, and of determination of unsatisfactory building performance.
7. Periodic changes to the California Building Code and other State regulations which may affect this code.
8. Administrative Bulletins and Code Rulings currently in effect.
9. Violations of the code found on inspections or investigations.
104A.3 Service of notices.
104A.3.1 Notices sent. Whenever a notice is required to be given under this code, unless different provisions are otherwise specifically made, such notice may be given either by personal delivery to the person to be notified or by deposit in the United States mail in a sealed envelope, postage prepaid, addressed to the person to be notified at such person’s last known business or residence address. Service by mail shall be deemed to be have been1 completed at the time of deposit in the United States mail.
104A.3.2 Proof of notice. Proof of giving any notice may be made by the certificate of any officer or employee of the City and County of San Francisco or by affidavit of any person over the age of eighteen years, which shows service in conformity with the San Francisco Municipal Code or other provisions or law applicable to the subject matter concerned.
1. So in Ord. 264-19.
104A.4 Code enforcement and rehabilitation fund.
104A.4.1 Establishment. There is hereby established in the Treasury of the City and County of San Francisco a special fund to be known and designated as the Code Enforcement and Rehabilitation Fund, into which shall be deposited all funds allocated by the State Controller from the Local Agency Code Enforcement and Rehabilitation Fund.
104A.4.2 Use of funds. The Code Enforcement and Rehabilitation Fund shall be used exclusively to defray costs incurred in the enforcement of local code provisions mandated by State law.
104A.5 Building Inspection Fund. All fees collected pursuant to this code shall be deposited into the Building Inspection Fund established by the City Controller pursuant to Section 10.117-78 of the San Francisco Administrative Code. This fund shall be used by the Department, subject to the approval of the Building Inspection Commission, to defray costs incurred for, but not limited to, personnel, supplies, and equipment used in evaluating the applications, maintaining files and records, and for disseminating information, reviewing plans and making inspections to determine compliance with the conditions of approvals. Any charges established by the Building Official or the Building Inspection Commission for copies of approvals, publications or other Department records shall be deposited into this fund.
104A.6 Multiple Languages in Notices.
104A.6.1 Definitions. For the purposes of this section, the following definitions shall apply:
DEDICATED TELEPHONE NUMBER means a telephone number for a recorded message in a language of limited English proficient residents. The recorded message shall advise callers as to what information they should leave on the message machine so that the Department may return the call with information about the notice in the requested language.
LANGUAGE OF LIMITED ENGLISH PROFICIENT RESIDENTS means each of the two languages other than English spoken most commonly by San Francisco residents of English proficiency as determined by the Planning Department based on its annual review of United States census and other data as required by San Francisco Administrative Code Section 91.2(j).
104A.6.2 Applicability of multiple language requirement. The requirements of Section 104A.6.3 shall apply to the following notices:
1. Notices required by Section 103A.3.3 that are mailed or personally served.
2. Notices required by Section 106A.126.96.36.199.
3. Notices required by Section 106A.3.2.3.
4. Notices required by Section 106A.4.6, Subsection 2.
5. Notices required by Section 106A.4.6, Subsection 3.
6. Notices required by San Francisco Existing Building Code Section 328.3.2.
7. Any other notices required by the Building Code to be mailed or personally served to property owners or occupants adjacent to or near a property for which Building Department development approval is sought.
104A.6.3 Multiple language statement in notices. The Building Department shall prepare a cover sheet as specified below and include it with each notice of the type listed in Section 104A.6.2 that is mailed or personally served. For posted notices listed in Section 104A.6.2, the Department shall post the cover sheet next to the posted notice. The cover sheet shall contain the following statement, printed in each language of limited English proficient residents and, to the extent available Department resources allow, such other languages that the Department determines desirable, with the name of the language in which the statement is made, the time period for a decision on the matter and the dedicated telephone number for the language of the statement inserted in the appropriate blank spaces:
“The attached notice is provided under the Building Code. It concerns property located at the address shown on the attached notice. A hearing may occur, a right to request review may expire or a development approval may become final unless appealed within [insert days until a hearing or deadline for requesting review or appealing a decision]. To obtain information about this notice in [insert name of language] please call [insert dedicated telephone number]. Please be advised that the Building Department will require at least one business day to respond to any call. Provision of information in [insert name of language] is provided as a service by the Building Department and does not grant any additional rights or extend any time limits provided by applicable law.”
The Department shall maintain a dedicated telephone number for each language of limited English proficient residents. The Department shall place a return telephone call by the end of the following business day to each person who leaves a message concerning a neighborhood notice at a dedicated telephone number and, when the caller is reached, provide information to the caller about the notice in the language spoken by the caller.